We asked our regular contributors through e-mail, What free software is so good you can’t believe it’s available for free? We got many interesting responses. Here are some of them. We have just copied and pasted their responses, not editing them in any way.
1. Google maps on a cell phone. Navigation systems used to cost hundreds of dollars not too long ago.
2. VLC needs more love than WinRAR.
3. The Windows Snipping tool literally changed my life and it was there the whole time!
4. Space Engine is free (for now). I’d say a program that simulates the known universe (and beyond!) for free on your computer is a good deal.
It’s actually free in all senses of the word. If you want to nitpick that it’s a website and not a software, well it’s a software too. You can download the Wikimedia software, set it up with no hassle, download all of Wikipedia and set it up in your instance of Wikimedia. So now you have your very own Wikipedia.
6. I don’t know how many people here can relate but MuseScore is fantastic for anyone who wants to put their musical ideas onto paper. It’s free and has all the functionality you could ever want from music notation software.
7. Audacity: Audio editing software.
Irfanview: Great for basic editing of images. This is my default image viewer.
And then there are ones a lot of people know about like VLC, Winamp, ImgBurn, Winrar, z-7, CPUID and Bleachbit.
8. Handbrake. Free, very powerful video converter.
9. Zotero. For those of you who do academic writing, this reference manager is 100x better and 1000x freer than EndNote.
It’s an online graphing calculator and it’s so much better than TI-84.